Being a Student-Athlete at UChicago

Monday, April 24, 2017 - 11:15

“Why UChicago?” and “How tough is balancing your work and athletics?” are the two questions, without fail, I field from softball recruits and their families when they’re attending camps or touring campus. As a fourth-year Public Policy major and member of the varsity softball team, I have been challenged and rewarded by athletics as a complement to my academics.

Along with the world-class academics, I chose UChicago because of the unique student-athlete experience and the vibrant athletic community it offers. Between games, practices, and lifts, softball is a big time commitment. My junior year of high school, I found myself in the coach’s office of a Division I program at another strong institution. This coach made it very clear that my school and sport would leave little room for much else, and the players confirmed this when I asked about clubs or other hobbies. The D3 experience has been a wonderful fit for me because I rarely miss class and am able to enjoy some of the many extracurriculars UChicago offers (there are over 400 recognized student organizations on campus!). In addition to classes and softball, I work about 10 hours/week and am the marketing director of UChicago Spoon University, an online food publication, the Vice President of the Women’s Athletic Association, and a member of The Mark, a marketing club. And yes, there is still time to hangout and go to dinner with friends.

UChicago is a member of a Division III Athletic conference, the University Athletic Association (UAA), which consists of seven other major research universities. In the last decade, the Maroons have won championships in men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s soccer, women’s tennis, men’s cross country, wrestling, and men’s and women’s track indoor track and field. Just this past year, women’s soccer made it to the final four of the NCAA tournament! It has been fun to be a part of such a successful athletic community.

In addition to enjoying the extracurriculars UChicago offers outside of athletics, the vibrant athletic community immediately drew me in. During my visit to UChicago, I was struck by how passionate the current softball players were about their lab research, papers, clubs and upcoming internships. I knew I wanted to be at UChicago because I wanted to be surrounded by a diverse group of well-rounded, interested, and interesting peers. As a fourth-year student, I’m happy to report that the vibrant athletic community has provided me with a stable support system and lifelong friends.